On May 4, a large group of musicians will perform at the Barby Club in Tel
Aviv. Established in 2012, Street Philharmonic is a band fused with a love of
music and the desire to capture the sound of the city. Something of a social
phenomenon, the band is imbued with all the drive and spirit of the start-up
nation. Mott the Hoople may have sung “All the young dudes carry the news,” but
gender and youth aside, it’s actually the spirit of the age that has seen this
group of dynamic young Israelis rise to the challenge to empower their
generation and enrich their society.
Narkis Alon, a lively young and
articulate Tel Avivian, together with twin brothers Yonatan and Daniel Winkler,
founded the Ze-Ze Collective.(www.ze-ze.org), which aims to strike a balance
between entertainment and social engagement.
“Our vision is to enable
young people to develop themselves while they simultaneously develop the
society. We create a ‘bank’ of young people according to their natural talent,
and we position them in suitable social projects that members of the community
initiate,” Alon explains.
Street Philharmonic is just one of these
projects and is the musical, creative arm of the Ze-Ze organization. The other
projects are not only for the benefit of the young but are no less
“We have two day centres for the elderly, where we have created
special activities that young people lead. We’ve had a film course, a belly
dancing course, yoga classes and much more. We also work with the Scouts to
create summer camps for young people, and then train and empower teenagers to be
counselors at the summer camps,” he says.
Although Street Philharmonic
has been in existence only since 2012, it has already had sell-out shows at
Reading 3 in Tel Aviv and has attracted well-known Israeli musicians such as
Karolina, Berry Sakharof and Danny Sanderson.
In the beginning, “We just
started going up to busking musicians in the street and telling them about the
project. It was hard to engage them at first, as they thought, ‘Who are these
young people? What do they want from us?’ We were disturbing them in their work,
but eventually they saw that we were serious,” Alon recounts.
14 members in the band, 10 of whom are street musicians and four are young
people from the Ze-Ze community.
When the group first started out, says
Alon, “We booked a show and promoted it; but after these shows, we then sold 30
shows to private companies, while also attracting young people into the shows to
see the possibilities.”
This innovative use of the corporate sector to
commercially provide funding is an inspired move that provides Street
Philharmonic with the much-needed revenue to pay the musicians and reinvest into
the project. In return, companies get “ethical entertainment,” says
In regard to the sound and style of the band, Alon says that
“Diversity is the idea behind it. It’s world music. We have klezmer, Greek,
Russian, Ukrainian, Balkan and Israeli songs all together. It’s also special
because the musicians chose the songs that they like, and together they
co-created the sound along with the producer.”
What can the audience look
forward to at the Barby concert?
“The band are just as funny and charismatic and
now, after a year, they are even better! We’ve got special guests Kobi Oz and
Efrat Gosh joining us on stage, too. It’s going to be a great night of
celebration but, most importantly, music and dancing,” says Alon.
Philharmonic performs on May 4 at the Barby Club in Tel Aviv. Doors open at 9:30
p.m. NIS 90/80. (03) 518-8123; www.barby.co.il